Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mogan's Wonderland

"You've just won the Superbowl! What are you gonna do now?"
"I'm going to Morgan's Wonderland!!!"

"So what is Morgan's Wonderland you ask?
Allow me to tell you...or better yet, allow me to let them tell you..."

Here's their Mission Statement & Vision (taken from their website):
Mission Statement
To provide a safe, clean and beautiful environment free of economic barriers that all individuals, regardless of age, special need or disability, can come to and enjoy.
Our vision at Morgan’s Wonderland is to establish a special place where smiles and laughter make wonderful memories with family members, caregivers and friends. To build a place where the common element of play creates an atmosphere of inclusion for those with and without disabilities, encouraging and allowing everyone to gain a greater understanding of one another.
So what inspired this new, inclusive amusement park? In an article by Christine Bockelman and published in Family Circle magazine (Oct 2012), Gordon Hartman, recalled a family vacation when Morgan was 12,
"The pool was empty--just a few other tweens splashing and laughing. Morgan, who has severe cognitive delays and physical disabilities, inched her way toward the group, clearly wanting to join in. "I could tell these were nice kids, but Morgan was different from them, and they didn't know what to do," Gordon says. Fighting the urge to intervene, he watched as the group left the pool."
Morgan was left alone and feeling disappointed. That was when her father decided that something had to be done which allowed, "...all kids, of all abilities, to learn to play together."

He started working on an idea and with time, a crew of architects & builders, consultations with medical specialists, and investors...Morgan's Wonderland started to become a reality. I think their website convey's their inspiration best:
"Morgan’s boundless love and ability to “soar” above her challenges were the true inspiration for this amazing park. Morgan’s desire to make everyone around her happy is magnified and expanded by the worldwide appeal of this park. That happiness will spread to all those who have special needs, their families, caregivers and those loving friends who volunteer their time to help ensure the success of Morgan’s Wonderland. It is Morgan’s fervent hope that everyone with special needs - young and old, healthy or ailing, introspective or outgoing - will be touched in a very special way by this park. An oasis of friendship . . . a shrine of inclusion . . . an unforgettable wonderland . . . Morgan’s Wonderland!"
I have to admit, I started to tear up when I read this article. It touched my heart and then I started wondering why my city doesn't have something like Morgan's Wonderland. We don't even have a decent park that has adaptive equipment for other abled children! Something should be done and I think it may be my new crusade (after we finish this muscle biopsy business and the holidays). My Rae, in all likelyhood will end up in a wheelchair for an unknown length of time (I'm still hoping to avoid it) and I want her to be able to swing. She LOVES swinging!

Until then, I will sit (not really I have way too much to do) and plan a trip to San Antonio, Texas to visit Morgan in her Wonderland!

*In case anyone is wondering, I checked with them about opening additional parks and they are looking into it, but haven't hammered out all the details. They did tell me that it takes approximately $35,000,000 to build and $2,500,000 annually to run (GULP!).

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